In a debate so deeply felt it spilled onto Facebook the next day, the Madison School Board this week awarded a $100,000 consulting contract aimed at improving services to students with disabilities to a company that close to half the board members don’t believe should do the job.

The board voted 4-3 — with members TJ Mertz, Anna Moffit and Nicki Vander Meulen opposed — to accept a staff recommendation to hire ERS, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, at Monday’s meeting. Education Resource Strategies is being asked to develop new models for how best to allocate staffing for special-education students and those caught up in the district’s Behavior Education Plan, which includes the district’s disciplinary code.

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